07-21-2009 01:40 AM
I've come to this forum admittedly disappointed by the company's mishandling of an already unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, this is the short version. My problems began at the start of the New Year. I'm hoping somebody can finally make this right or knows someone who can.
Until this incident, I believed in the extended service plans. I'd had purchased them before and was pleased with the outcome when they were needed. At the present moment, I'm left with a camera that doesn't belong to me, ridiculous explanations, and little remaining respect or trust left in the Best Buy brand or their mantra of Customer Centricity.
What disappointed me the most was being given false information. So your company or your repair facility lost my camera. No, I was not happy. But I didn't think honesty was too much to ask for. I'd worked retail/customer service for a long time and I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of an irate customer. I loved that camera, but I had faith that the company I'd used to work for would practice what they preach.
I purchased my Kodak Z712IS in May 2007, taking out what was then called "Accidental Coverage" 4 yr. plan. I'd picked up someone's Z612IS and instantly fell in love with photography. Being someone who's always had a passion for the arts, this was my first step into the world of photography. This is not a casual interest; I taught myself to use the manual controls from day one. It wasn't "just a camera". I used it almost every day. So when I took it in for service again early this year, the thought that I'd never see it again didn't cross my mind.
Until it happened. I dropped it off January 9th. Not long after I'd first purchased it, I'd inadvertently scratched off a number on the serial sticker, turning on what I know now was a poor quality tripod head. The camera had been serviced before with no problems. I think the problem started when the tech entered a random jumble of numbers and "(unknown)" on the order instead of any of the actual digits. They didn't think it would be a problem. Hindsight 20/20.
After 3 months of waiting to get it back, I got a message stating there was a problem, that I needed to call to discuss my options. I went to the store, the camera needed massive repairs. Apparently the repair facility sent it back to the local store. I could wait longer, send the camera in again, or use Kodak's Rapid Exchange Program. I was told that this model of camera apparently has a reputation for bad boards. I asked if I could get my battery and screen cover before they sent it in again.
The camera brought out wasn't mine. I'd worked hard to take care of my camera; whomever owned this one obviously didn't care. The lens cap was badly chipped and scratched, the body and LCD had scratches, the lens housing had long scratches that were immediately noticeable when camera was able to be turned on. This was the same tech who'd sent the camera in for service. He knew it wasn't mine. He even remembered that mine had a rechargeable battery and an LCD shade. They were listed on the service order. The camera they'd set in front of me hadn't even been repaired!!! Never mind that it wasn't even mine, it wasn't even functional! My camera didn't even make it to be inspected for repair.
I spoke to a kind woman at the Consumer Relations department. She gave me a direct number and extension to reach her directly. It had taken me well over an hour just to get to her. I'd call the number, speak to the 1st level tech, be transferred up to the next tier on hold for long periods, just to have something terminate the call. My cell is set up to chime when a call is dropped; none were dropped by the carrier. I'd repeated this process 4 or 5 times, remaining disgustingly patient the entire time, explaining to each new person who I'd been told I needed to speak to and that I'd been cut off every time. I still thought they'd fix this.
I'm a glass-half-full kind of gal, but I realized my Z712IS was long gone. There was nothing I could do about it. As much as I wanted to scream and as frustrated as I was, I knew how it felt to be on the receiving end of one of those tirades. And I knew it wasn't the tech's fault; they seemed like they were as lost as I was. I apologized to the tech I had been dealing with regularly when he relayed an absurd excuse from Precision Camera; I vented about the repair facility telling him that it was my camera, they'd just replaced the body. COME ON. If I hadn't been so disgusted, I would have laughed. So I told him that I knew it wasn't his fault, apologized for venting and thanked him for at least trying to help. He was caught in the middle too.
I'd come up with what I'd thought to be a more than reasonable solution to the entire mess. The Z712IS was a good advanced camera, but I wanted to upgrade. So I didn't think I was being unreasonable when I asked that I was given what I'd paid, plus the rechargeable battery and pro-rated warranty. I would apply the credit toward the purchase of a pro DSLR and warranty, paying the difference. Bad situation would be remedied - customer would be happy AND giving the company more money. I've never been in a store that didn't want to take my money. Until now. I was assured by the lady at corporate that this could be remedied, that my offer sounded reasonable and that she'd get back to me when she had answers. I have no idea what happened.
It seems the communication between the Precision Camera, the local store, and the corporate office is badly flawed. I was drawn into a nasty game of finger pointing. The store said they couldn't do anything because of corporate, who in turn said the store had to handle it. What I was told the repair facility said was laughable. Along all lines, there weren't any consistent answers. The very last time I spoke to someone at "Consumer Relations" I asked to speak to a supervisor because getting someone else's broken camera wasn't an acceptable solution.
He tried to tell me it was a refurb, that “they” make that decision at whatever point they see fit; I have ZERO say in it. He tried to tell me that it takes time to order parts, that's why it had taken 3 months. I asked why they would order parts for a broken camera if they intended to supply me with a functional refurbished model? That instead of putting a new serial sticker on the camera, they would senselessly throw money away and replace the entire camera body for a sticker? Yet leave a severely damaged lens cap on it. If it was a refurb, why was it still broken when they sent it back to the store? It's ridiculous! What kind of company sends the customer a refurb who's circuit board is still bad? If the camera I was presented with is the type of refurbished item people are given, Best Buy should be deeply ashamed.
My impression from the start was Precision Camera screwed up and everyone scrambled to cover their tails. Yet I'm left holding the bag. That supervisor was extremely effective at his job. He talked circles around me until I was completely confused, then was nasty when I questioned things he was saying by reading directly from what I'd signed in the service order and what was printed in the Black-Tie Plan. He actually made me cry on the phone. I didn't even get a chance to finish the conversation because my cell died. So I look like just another angry customer; as soon as I got it plugged in, I called the store and told someone what happened; she gave me hope and told me that I should come in and talk to the manager the next day, she knew he could get somebody to listen.
Again, I was severely disappointed. My only option was to take the camera that wasn't mine. What sense does it make for a company to send out a refurb with a lens cap that looks like it had been in a blender? Now that's a cheap part. It's laughable on every front to replace a consumer's product with a refurbished product without their consent, much less a refurbished product that's visibly damaged and won't remain on. It makes quite an impression when a member of the Geek Squad tells you your only option is to take what they give you; after 30 days it will be disposed of. When you remind them that what they're trying to give you DOESN'T WORK, even though it's supposed to be a newly refurbished model. The store staff were so lost that they tried to send me home with another broken camera.
Whatever was scratching the lens housing got worse until it started clicking and the zoom slowed drastically down. In addition to the power button sticking and the camera turning off at inopportune times, the "refurbished" camera went in yet again a few months later. Where the tech tried to tell me that this would only be the third time for repair. He actually listened to me when I insisted it wasn't and looked in the orders and found the missing one in their documentation. The guy even begs on the repair order to "plz no lemon" the camera. This is an awful situation at all angles. Why am I as a consumer left holding the bag because no one will step up?
That camera was the greatest source of joy for me. In a sometimes ugly world, I was always able to find the beauty when I was behind the lens. At this point I've forgotten how great it felt to hold a camera. I used it for a couple months and am right back where I started.
The most hilarious thing about this entire mess was someone finally admitted to me that they'd lost my camera. The day I picked it up, after they'd had to send my replacement camera back again, a tech I hadn't spoken to before said "So they lost your camera, huh? That sucks." Finally. Someone admitted it.
Yeah. It sucks. So much for customer centricity. I really don't think it's right that as a consumer I should have to play go-between the corporate office and the local store. I tried to reach the woman I'd spoken to before, but even with the direct number and extention, I was routed back to square one to be put on hold to climb the chain of command, just to have to explain the mess yet again to another person. I've heard so many stories it makes my head spin. I didn't even mention I used to work at Best Buy until the rude guy at corporate started spouting the exact opposite of things they'd drilled into our heads to sell those plans.
According to what the last man at corporate headquarters told me, the print in the warranty doesn't matter. That the things I'd been pushed to say to sell those warranties aren't true. Which would mean every time I convinced a customer to take out the plan because I'd had great experiences, that I'd unwittingly lied to them. It's darkly humorous that the holding company is AIG WarrantyGuard, Inc. I suspect that's not coincidental.
Though this entire experience, I'd been more than patient and civil. I just want this to be resolved. I didn't think it would be such a problem to give Best Buy MORE MONEY. It seemed like a fair deal. The customer is spared more months of chaos, leaves happy knowing that a company will stand behind their policies PLUS the store makes money selling her a pro camera and another warranty. Of course, a pro model comes without a lens, and accessories are needed. No one knew how to handle this situation, and the people who wanted to help didn't have the authorization to do so. For the most part, people at the local store were great. Though the term "escalation" is laughable. Last count was 5 or 6 on this single issue. Responses took weeks.
While I was waiting for this mess to be sorted out, I bought the pro camera I'd wanted. I'm in need of a fast (i.e. not cheap) pro lens and various equipment. As things stand, I think it's safe to say I won't open my wallet for the crew in blue. I took the replacement in a month ago for service. And informed that even though this was the 4th time, it wasn't up to the store to decide if an item qualifies for the "no lemon" policy. So again I wait. Guess this is just a last-ditch effort on my part for someone will finally make things right. It's not that they can't. They won't.
This situation could have been easily resolved long ago. I'd asked for nothing more than what I was out and still wanted to spend money with your company. That Kodak would have made a good little backup camera. I loved it while it was mine. Just like I loved what I thought your store stood for.
07-21-2009 01:56 AM
All I gotta say is WOW!
That was one heck of a report. I hope this gets resolved for you, Sarah.
07-21-2009 02:46 AM
Thanks, I hope so too. That's the abbreviated report. It's been an absolute nightmare. I remained silent about being a former employee for a long time. I just wanted my camera back. I honestly don't think the issues were that serious with my camera; it was doing the exact same thing it had done the first time I'd sent it in, about a year into the service plan. The shutter assembly was replaced then, turnaround was surprisingly fast. The "refurbished" camera was in a lot worse shape than mine. The total turnaround time to repair the "replacement" camera's circuit board was fast. Precision Camera's log entry shows 3/26/09 to customer successfully contacted on 4/9/09. That was one of the only records I was given; he probably wasn't even supposed to give me a copy. No one else would.
Very little I've been told makes any sense. When it's all added up though, it's surprisingly clear. I'm hoping by shedding some light on my situation, something will finally be done. If not, on to plan C... D.... E.... no matter how long it takes.
I left Best Buy because of bad management at the local level. I didn't hold it against the company, nor did I take advantage of the employee discount when I easily could have continued to do so. I bought that Kodak and subsequent purchases at full retail price. I could have easily gotten it cheaper because I knew my discount was still active. But, fortunately(un?) I have a conscience. The cynic in me sees why people really don't care about much anymore. Why bother?
That camera was a huge part of my life. The "replacement" didn't even last long. The condition in which it was given to me, it's anyone's guess as to what the former owner put it through. Whoever ended up with mine got a great deal. I was proud of my camera and other than a couple knothead minor NOOB fumbles, it was in great condition. Just because I bought another camera doesn't mean I'm going to drop the issue. I will go as far and wide as need be until someone listens. Thanks for being someone who's listened. Maybe you guys can help.
07-22-2009 02:38 PM
07-23-2009 10:27 AM
After reading about your repair I can completely understand you being upset with how this was handled so far, and I’m sure you just want this to be finally resolved. I truly do apologize for any miscommunication that happened between you and the representatives of Best Buy® you have spoken to thus far, and it is definitely concerning that one of those representatives upset you so much that you cried.
I did look into your current service order and I show that on 7/20/2009 your camera was approved to be replaced by your Performance Service Plan (PSP). I called the store and talked to the Geek Squad® supervisor who said he will be calling you right away to have you come in and get your camera replaced with a comparable camera.
I would like to make sure this goes as smooth as possible for you so I am sending you a private message. To check your messages you should make sure you are logged into the forum, and then click on the letter icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Thanks for posting,
07-23-2009 04:17 PM
Thank you for the update on the unfortunate situation with my Kodak. I did get a phone call this morning with the news I'd be issued a store credit for the purchase price of my former camera and am hoping they prorated the remaining warranty as well. And I'm very grateful that your company has made a forum like this available. I'm surprised that more corporations haven't followed suit.
Why did it have to get to this point? I was pretty surprised to have a consumer relations supervisor speak to me the way he did. If I'd been a jerk I would have deserved it. Not every consumer out there is out to rip off the company and I really resent being treated like one who is. I was obviously nothing more than a nuisance to him. These are the specialists? There were people involved in this situation from the start who seemed to genuinely want to resolve the situation. The only problem was, they didn't have the authority to do so. I didn't think when I dropped off my camera in January I'd still be without it at the end of July.
07-24-2009 07:51 AM
Well, Sarah, looks like everything is gonna turn out okay. Perhaps this is an opportunity to move into the SLR territory? If you really want to get into photography, SLR is the only way to fly. Just a thought.